Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Before we go Full Sessions, please remember: We’re in the midst of our annual membership drive. Let me stipulate to all the reasons this is important. Click here and sign up today. Don’t put it off. Let this be the moment. Click right here.

4:51 PM: In the context of all this back and forth, it’s worth remembering that none of it really matters. Trump has said publicly and repeatedly that he fired James Comey because of the Russia probe. It’s all notional reasoning, speculation and BS, because President Trump told us why he did it.

4:42 PM: This is awkward about the supposed DOJ policy.

4:38 PM: This is interesting. Harris is talking about documents prepared prior to becoming Attorney General. So not clear what DOJ lawyers would have to say about it.

4:15 PM: Curious what lawyers make of this. (Actually King’s bringing it up now). But Sessions seems to be asserting the privilege (in effect) for the bad questions and waiving it (on Trump’s behalf) on the easy questions.

4:07 PM: Hmmm. That’s interesting. Burr says NSA Chief Rodgers spent two hours in closed session last night addressing his communications with President Trump.

3:51 PM: Lawyers would likely call this a ‘constructive recusal’.

3:48 PM: Just an observation. So far at least none of the GOP Senators have gone in for the same level of special pleading that a number of them did during the Comey briefing.

3:42 PM: Comey blew it with the July announcement. But the technicalities are important. Comey talked about his recommendation. He didn’t make the decision. Similar, but not the same thing.

3:39 PM: I think we can see pretty clearly that anything that is really key Sessions is placing behind the cloak of executive privilege.

3:23 PM: Sessions appears to invoke executive privilege not to comment on whether pardons have been discussed. (Executive privilege seems to have become the privilege that dare not speak its name.)

3:20 PM: Sessions says his recusal had nothing to do with his actions, but only the fact that he was an top advisor to the campaign. But he recused himself the day after his meetings with Ambassador Kislyak were first reported. Seems odd.

3:07 PM: “The people of this country expect an honest and transparent government and that’s what we’re giving them.”

3:04 PM: It seems like Attorney General Sessions had a somewhat different understanding of ‘recusal’ than a lot of the rest of us.

2:59 PM: Sessions’ statement is vehement but I confess a bit hard to follow.

2:48 PM: “Just the beginning of our interaction with you and your department.” Hrrrmmm.

2:45 PM: I would not say Burr sounds hostile. But if I’m Sessions, I’m not feeling the love.

2:40 PM: And here we go …

In the Senate right now, Republicans are making rapid progress on repealing Obamacare and forcing more than twenty million Americans off the health care coverage rolls. They’re doing it by making a mockery of almost the entire legislative process. The law they’ve written is secret, even apparently from most Republican Senators. It will remain secret until after a score is released by the CBO. Then, presumably, it will be rushed for an immediate vote before anyone has had a chance to even look at the law or what it does. President Trump will sign it. And it will be done.

This is awful. But, really, stop saying it’s awful.

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Huge breakthrough from President Trump. He’s finally hit 60% disapproval in the Gallup daily approval tracking poll. He almost got there in March, peaking at 59% disapproval on March 28th. But this is a new record and I guess a new decile?

Remember, in Trumpland, it’s corruption all the way down. It’s the default action. This morning Jesse Eisenger and TPM alum Jusin Elliot break the news that Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz bragged to friends that he got New York US Attorney Preet Bharara fired. Kasowitz reportedly told Trump, “This guy is going to get you.”

For the purposes of today, whoever’s idea it was, whoever made it happen, the actual firing had to come down from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

A short while ago on her new MSNBC show, Nicole Wallace was asking whether all of the focus on things that happened around the turnover of the administrations (say, December 2016 to February 2017) isn’t misplaced. What about the much more out in the open events that happened earlier in the year, like that never explained change to the GOP platform? This raised in my mind a slightly different point. 

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